Page 21 of Before (After 5)

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“A game?” Zed looks intrigued.

“Like Truth or Dare. We could ask her questions about sex, confirm she’s a virgin so you two aren’t wasting your time to begin with.” Jace waves his hand between Zed and me.

“Truth or Dare? You’ve gotta be shitting me,” I groan. No one plays that bullshit anymore.

“Stupid idea.” Nate shakes his head, mock disappointment playing on his face.

No one outside of sixth grade would ever want to play Truth or Dare.

“Actually, it’s a good idea. Less obvious,” Steph adds. “She’s so clueless, she’ll think it’s something people do in college for fun. It’s just edgy enough to seem dangerous to her, and just juvenile enough for her to understand.”

As I look around the group, everyone is nodding and laughing. These idiots.

I shrug, giving in to their idea, but only because I don’t have a better one.

“Truth or Dare, it is.” Jace finalizes it.

THE PARTY IS CROWDED, even more than the one last week, and I’m sober, like always. I stayed in my room as the music got louder and louder, then decided to come down.

As I’m wandering around the living room to find Nate, I stop walking when I see Tessa sitting on the couch. Well, at least I think it’s Tessa? She’s dressed differently from before. Way differently. The intriguing blue-gray eyes stand out more when they’re lined with makeup, and her clothes are snug on her curvy body.

She’s fucking hot. I wouldn’t let her know that, but goddamn, she’s fucking hot.

“You look . . . different.” I can’t stop looking at her as she gets to her feet. Her hips—damn, those fucking hips should have my fingertips imprinted on their skin.

“Your clothes actually fit you tonight.” The sound comes out as a laugh, but I didn’t mean for my comment to be a joke.

She rolls her eyes at me and pulls the top of her shirt up to cover her incredible cleavage.

“It’s a surprise to see you here,” I say to her, still checking her out.

She sighs. “I’m a bit surprised myself that I ended up here again.” She walks away from me without a warning, and I hesitate for a moment, considering whether I should follow her. I know the plan, and now that she’s dressed like this, I’m even more ready to get the ball rolling on this shit. I decide not to follow her, not yet. I let her get lost in the crowd for a bit.

A few minutes later, I’m leaning against the counter in the kitchen, when Molly approaches me. “Are you ready for this bullshit or what?” she asks.

She’s irritated and jealous of the new center of attention. I get it. She’s used to getting attention from the opposite sex; it’s how she feels needed.

I understand that more than anyone.

“Are you?” I raise a brow to her.

She rolls her heavily lined eyes at me. “I’ll have Steph find her and bring her to the living room, since you obviously aren’t going to be of any help.”

By the time I sit down, water cup in hand, Tessa is joining the group. I feel uneasy but excited for some reason as the game begins. I try not to think of Natalie or Melissa or any of the others. It’s not their fault they were born into this society right along with the scum of it, myself included.

“Let’s play Truth or Dare,” Zed starts, and our small group of tattooed friends gather around the couch. Molly is passing around a bottle of vodka, and I look away from it, drinking my water as if it was burning my throat in that familiar way.

Steph; Nate; his roommate, Tristan; Zed; and Molly take turns drinking from the bottle. Tessa watches them but doesn’t have any. I don’t take her for an addict like me. Maybe she just doesn’t like to drink. Even in college, at a party.

“You should play, too, Tessa.” Molly smiles at her. I know that smile. It’s no good. I still can’t believe we’re going through with this childish bullshit game.

“No, I’d rather not.” Tessa picks at her fingernails, and I glance at Zed. He looks a little worried. Perhaps he’s intimidated by the way she keeps glancing at me instead of him.

“To actually play, she would have to stop being a prude for five minutes,” I goad her. The group laughs—all except Steph, who’s putting on a good show. She’s not fooling me; I know her ass better than that.

I watch Tessa struggle with the peer pressure, ready to give in, then I lean into Zed. “This will be easy. You may as well pay me now,” I tell him.

Maybe this game was a good idea after all.

During the first few turns, Zed chugs a beer, Molly shows off her nipple piercings. I get a kick out of watching Tessa’s eyes bulge and her cheeks turn a deep red as she watches Molly. I can’t help but imagine Tessa’s full tits, perky and soft, decorated with small barbells.

“Truth or dare, Theresa?” Nate asks, getting this show on the road. Finally.

“Truth?” She sounds unsure. I don’t miss that she didn’t correct Nate when he called her Theresa, whereas every time I do it, she acts as if she wants to chop my balls off and feed them to her lapdog of a boyfriend.

“Of course,” I taunt. She glares at me as Nate rubs his hands together while trying to pretend like we all haven’t already agreed upon what he’s supposed to ask.

“Okay. Are you . . . a virgin?” Nate finally asks.

Tessa’s eyes go wide, wider than usual, and she makes a light choking noise in the back of her throat. She’s shocked, horrified, and offended that a stranger would ask her such a personal question. A blush runs down her neck to her chest. Her hands fidget, and I get the feeling she’s trying to decide whether to curse his ass out or run from the room.

“Well?” I ask, all the while picturing her naked body under mine. Her voice, soft and subtle, would be making noises that no man has ever heard before. The thought is beyond fucking intriguing, but also fucked up, since I can’t speak to the girl without getting assaulted by her snobbish attitude.

At last, this innocent girl gives a quick, silent nod.

Every one of us is thinking about our game and how this sweet, innocent, and crumpling naive girl just became the main piece.

Tessa’s a virgin—she’s just admitted it to the lot of us. I knew this to be true before she admitted it. I could tell by the way she shivered from our conversations alone. Thinking about being the first one to have her, to show her what she’s been missing out on, makes my cock twitch. I imagine what’s under her outfit. Her soft skin, full tits, her nipples hardening under my touch. Now the game has begun, and my blood is pumping. I’m anxious to be inside of her.